For much of our national history, newspapers were the exclusive form of political and governmental media. Citizens who wanted to reach decisionmakers through the press had to work through newspaper reporters. But times have changed. The sustained influence of broadcast sources, and the more recent explosion of new/social media, has significantly altered the media landscape.
Despite these changes, the newspaper industry has adopted new business models to help daily print journalism survive. Many papers have emphasized their presence on the Internet and on social media sites, and with good reason. Digital impressions and advertising offer possible new revenue streams. And in the same way that Willie Sutton robbed banks because "that's where the money is," newspapers are shifting online because that's where potential future generations of newspaper readers exist.
Print reporters are also making more of an effort to converse with their readers on social media. A December 2015 study from assistant professor Mi Rosie Jahng of Hope College and assistant professor Jeremy Littau of Lehigh University found that, among younger readers, "journalists who interact with their followers are seen as more credible and rated more positively than journalists who use Twitter solely to disseminate news and information." That may be why much of the Tallahassee press corps spends a good chunk of each day communicating in 140 characters or less.
We should all hope these revitalization efforts flourish, because newspapers are a crucial force for holding government accountable. Think of how Lucy Morgan of the Tampa Bay Times unearthed the story of the "Taj Mahal" — a $50 million courthouse for which legislators and judges buried funding in an appropriations bill at a time when budget-challenged courts across Florida were cutting staff. Remember how Miami Herald reporters Carol Marbin Miller and Audra D.S. Burch revealed the heartbreaking tragedy that hundreds of children died of abuse or neglect due to problems in Florida's child welfare system. Note how Tallahassee Democrat reporter Jeff Burlew has spent the last year chronicling the decline in Florida State Employees' Charitable Campaign contributions since its management was outsourced to a private company in 2012 — via contracts that have allowed that company to take much of the increasingly limited FSECC funds in six-figure annual fees. READ MORE.